Robert Arends

San Diego Restaurant Week: Fine Dines in Coronado and East County

Two of my favorite areas of San Diego are Coronado – our postcard-perfect slice of paradise just across the bridge from downtown – and East County which constantly surprises me with its cool backcountry finds.

Narrowing down my favorite restaurants in each region wasn’t easy, as there’s a plethora of mouth-watering options, from French, Italian and some of the finest Mexican food in the County to farm-to-fork and coastal cuisine.

Blessed with a spectacular bay and seaside setting and easygoing island vibe, Coronado is a diner’s delight! My top three choices in the “Crown City” for San Diego Restaurant Week are:

  1. Sheerwater at the Hotel del Coronado is a refined, yet casual oceanfront restaurant featuring a “Fish by the Sea” menu of classic bistro-style cuisine with a focus on fresh sustainable seafood. Just steps away, the beach beckons couples for romantic strolls.

    Mistral's panoramic views of San Diego Bay.

  2. With floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of San Diego Bay and the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort offers an idyllic backdrop for modern French delicacies prepared by chefs Marc Erhler and Patrick Ponsaty.

    Coronado Boathouse 1887 on Glorietta Bay.

  3. Coronado Boathouse 1887, located on Glorietta Bay across the street from the Hotel del Coronado, serves gourmet steaks and seafood. This “diminutive Del” is celebrating 40 years in the restaurant business and is a favorite with locals and visitors alike!

My top three East County picks are:

  1. Terra American Bistro, located in the East College District, brings farm to table dining to East County. Chef Jeff Rossman’s New American cuisine focuses on the local bounty of sustainable, organic ingredients and preparation styles from North, South and Central America.  (Bring Terra home with the chef’s new cookbook, From Terra’s Table.)

    Enjoy farm to fork cuisine at Chef Rossman's Terra Restaurant.

  2. Every day is a fiesta at Casa de Pico in La Mesa, known for its award-winning “Best Mexican” cuisine, festive atmosphere and famous birdbath margaritas [just one, please 😉 ]. Enjoy dining on the patio with its colorful umbrellas, splashing fountain and strolling Mariachis – ole!

    Festive patio dining at Casa de Pico!

  3. A favorite with locals and critics alike, the Grove Steakhouse at Viejas Casino in Alpine serves a fabulous selection of steaks, seafood, chops and delectable desserts in a luxurious setting. Go a bit early to explore the casino and outlet shops. Viejas, by the way, is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

    The Grove Steakhouse at Viejas.